Saturday March 24th, Ripple Rock,
On April 5th, 1958, the largest non-nuclear man-made explosion to date occurred at Seymour Narrows, just north of Campbell River. The 1270 metric tons of Nitramex 2H explosives was loaded into tunnels coming from Maud Island, on the east side of the narrows. Ripple Rock had been a long time danger to shipping on the inland passageway, as its two peaks almost broke water at low tides. The risk of grounding was increased due to the high volumes of water that flow during full tides. We will meet at the Courtenay Country Market, 5352 Old Island Highway across form Sunnydale golf course. The drive to the trail head is about 45 minutes, and the walk around 3 hours return. Pack water and a light lunch as we picnic at the viewpoint before the return trip. For more details check out this link:
Saturday March 10th, Macy Woodlot Walk Mt. Washington
Fred Newhouse spoke at our AGM in February, and we are fortunate to have him leading a walk through the Harold Macy Woodlot today. Fred has spent most of his life in the woods in various roles with the forest service, consulting, and managing a crown woodlot. The visit will showcase the sustainable logging practices that are used on the Harold Macy Woodlot. Bring binoculars, water and a snack.
The walk is shady and under trees and may be cool even on a warm day. We have encountered Elk, Bear and Island Deer, but we can always expect 6 to 8 bird species and various species of slugs. The forest is 80 to 100 year old Coastal Western Hemlock Drier Maritime Zone. The trip is moderately difficult, but mostly on dirt and gravel roads with a 7 to 15 % slope. The holder of the woodlot license is Harold Macy, who has written an autobiography “The Four Storey Forest”.
We will meet by the old church on Harmston Road in Courtenay at 9:30, and car pool to the woodlot which is located off the Mt. Washington Parkway.
Saturday, March 3rd, Union Bay (Coal Hills)
This easy walk starts at the Union Bay Boat ramp and explores the remains of Dunsmuir’s Coal terminal, located on both sides of Hart (Washer) Creek. In 1887 Robert Dunsmuir had a deep water coal terminal 600 feet long built to load wind and steam freighters which carried the high quality coal from Cumberland around the world. Little of the infrastructure, which included coke ovens, a coal washer, and workers barracks remain. What does remain are mounds of low quality coal and coal dust, removed before shipping to ensure that only the best coal went aboard. Coal dust is explosive and water from Hart Creek was used to remove much of it here. Use of the site only stopped in 1960, and various uses of the area have been suggested over the years since then. This site is a fascinating, if toxic site, and a reminder of how poorly we treated the environment not that long ago. More information is available at these three web sites: